Ireland's minister for education and skills today announced a new policy requiring all primary and secondary schools to develop strategies to address and prevent anti-LGBT bullying, reports Pink News.
Such bullying is widespread in the nation; studies indicate that 50% of students report having endured verbal abuse with homophobic or transphobic content, and 25% have been subject to physical threats, the news site notes.
Advocates for LGBT youth praised the new directive from education minister Ruairi Quinn. "These new procedures, which are mandatory for both primary and post primary schools, provide the opportunity to radically transform the lives of young LGBT people in every school in the country and make Irish schools safe, supportive and affirming for young LGBT people," Sandra Irwin-Gowran, director of education policy at Ireland's Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, said in a press release.
Michael Barron, director of BeLonG To Youth Services, issued a statement calling the policy "a major breakthrough." He added, "Every class in every school in Ireland has LGBT students. Many schools are already working to create a climate that is safe and supportive for these students. Many other schools, however, are not working to support LGBT young people, and these procedures provide much-needed support and direction for those schools."